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Ma's honorific missing from invitation to Panama banquet

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Reporters discovered yesterday that invitations handed out on behalf of President Ma Ying-jeou for a banquet in Panama, ahead of the newly elected Panamanian president's inauguration, did not carry the formal title “president” in front of the R.O.C. president's name.

The president is currently on an overseas visit in Central America.

Invitations to the banquet in Panama, scheduled for June 30, were given out to Taiwanese compatriots in the Central American country. According to reports, more than 300 had been given out. The invitations were printed both in Chinese and Spanish. The Spanish version had the title “president” in front of the president's name, whereas the Chinese version simply read “Ma Ying-jeou cordially invites” in addition to information on the time and the location of the banquet as well as the dress code.

The Spanish version of the invitation was specially prepared for second-generation immigrants, many of whom can't read Chinese, as well as native Panamanians.

The president was slated to hear a briefing by the R.O.C. ambassador to Panama shortly after his arrival in the Central American country and to attend the banquet afterward at noon.

President-elect Juan Carlos Varela is slated to be inaugurated on July 1 (Panama time).

According to local reports, officials at the R.O.C. Embassy in Panama denied that the title omission was a result of “external pressure,” and that the invitation had been based on an older template.

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